Who is Eligible for a VA Loan?

VA Loan Eligibility

You are currently serving, or have completed your faithful service to this country. Now you wonder if you have earned your VA home loan benefit.

Eligibility can seem like a confusing thing to figure out, especially when you want to move forward with home-buying plans for you and your family.

More than 320,000 current and former service members bought a home with a VA loan in 2015, according to VA. It could be time for you to take advantage of this benefit too.

A VA mortgage offers 100% financing, low rates, and zero mortgage insurance.

Check your eligibility status here.

So, we’ve put together a quick reference guide that can tell you if you are likely eligible for this benefit.

Current and former U.S. armed forces service members are typically eligible if they are currently serving, or have met service requirements with an honorable discharge. Eligibility can be earned by serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Reserves or National guard.

You are probably eligible if you’ve served:

  • 90 days during wartime
  • 181 days during peacetime
  • 2 Years if enlisted in Post-Vietnam era
  • 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves
  • Un-remarried surviving spouses are also eligible
Click here to see if you are eligible for a VA home loan.

Without further ado, here are several charts that can tell you if you could be eligible for this incredible benefit.

Separated from Service: Minimum Service Requirements

Era Dates Minimum Service*
WWII 9/16/1940 – 7/25/1947 90 continuous days
Peacetime 7/26/1947 – 6/26/1950 181 days
Korean 6/27/1950 – 1/31/1955 90 days
Post-Korean 2/1/1955 – 8/4/1964 181 days
Vietnam 8/5/1964 – 5/7/1975 90 days
Post-Vietnam 5/8/1975 – 9/7/1980 181 days
Post-Vietnam 9/8/1980 – 8/1/1990 2 years
Persian Gulf 8/2/1990 – undetermined 2 years or the full amount of time called, no less than 90 days

*You may be eligible for a VA home loan if you were discharged due to a service-related disability before you reached the minimum service requirement.

VA rates are low. Get a pre-approval to buy a home before rates rise.

Active Duty and Other Eligibility Criteria

You may be eligible if you are not yet separated from service or meet other eligibility criteria:

Other Eligible Persons Minimum Service Required
Active Duty 90 continuous duty (181 days in peacetime)
Active Reserve/Nat. Guard 6 years in Selected Reserves
Unmarried surviving spouse No service required if spouse died of service-related causes
Spouse of POW/MIA Veteran Veteran must be POW/MIA for at least 90 days
Check your eligibility and get started with your home search.

More Details on VA Home Loan Eligibility

There are many ways in which you may be eligible for a VA home loan:

If you enlisted and service began on or BEFORE September 7, 1980 or your were an officer and service began on or BEFORE October 16, 1980 you are eligible if you served honorably for:

  • 90 days or more, any part of which occurred during wartime or
  • 181 continuous days or more during peacetime

If you enlisted and service began AFTER September 7, 1980 or you were an officer and service began AFTER October 16, 1980, you may be eligible if you served honorably for:

  • 24 continuous months or more or
  • the full period for which ordered to active duty, but not less than 90 days (any part during wartime) or 181 continuous days (peacetime)
  • Member of the National Guard or Reserves for a minimum of 6 years (see below for more information)
Check today's low VA loan rates.

The Vietnam Era begins on Feb 28, ’61 for individuals who served in the Republic of Vietnam

You may also be determined eligible if you:

  • were discharged for a service-connected disability, or
  • were discharged for the convenience of the government after completing at least 20 months of a 2-year enlistment, or
  • completed not less than 90 days (any part during wartime) or 181 continuous days (peacetime), and
  • were discharged because of a hardship, or
  • were determined to have a service-connected disability, or
  • were discharged or released from active duty for a medical condition which preexisted service and has not been determined to be service-connected, or
  • received an involuntary discharge or release from active duty for the convenience of the Government as a result of a reduction in force, or
  • were discharged or released from active duty for a physical or mental condition not characterized as a disability and not the result of misconduct but which did interfere with your performance of duty
  • are an un-remarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service connected disability, or
  • are a spouse of a serviceperson missing in action or a prisoner of war.

The above information does not cover every situation. To find out if you are eligible for a VA loan,  contact us here to get a VA loan rate quote and verify your eligibility.

Active Duty Service Personnel

If you are now on active duty, you are eligible after having served on continuous active status for at least 90 days. When an ending date is established for Persian Gulf War service, a minimum of 181 days of continuous active duty will be required for persons who did not have wartime service.

Members of the Selected Reserve

“Selected Reserve” means the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve of any of the Reserve components which consists of units and individuals who participate actively in paid training periods and serve on paid active duty for training each year. This includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves as well as Army National Guard and Air National Guard.

6-Year Requirement: A veteran, who is not otherwise eligible, who completes a total of 6 years as a member of the Selected Reserve (need not be ordered to active duty) is eligible if he or she either:

  • received an honorable discharge
  • was placed on the retired list
  • was transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service in the Selected Reserve characterized as honorable
  • continues to serve in the Selected Reserve.

The 6 years service need not be continuous nor in the same Reserve or National Guard unit. However, active duty regular military service cannot be combined with Reserve service to reach the 6 year requirement.

Check today's VA loan rates.

VA Home Loan Eligibility may also be established for:

  • Certain United States citizens who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in World War II.
  • Individuals with service as members in certain organizations, such as Public Health Service officers, cadets/midshipmen at service academies, officers of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, merchant seamen with WWII service, and others.

If you have any questions about your eligibility or qualifications for a VA loan, call (866) 240-3742 to speak with a licensed lenderwho can help you with your specific needs.

VA home loan quotes are freely available

The VA home loan program is an excellent deal for active duty military personnel and non-active duty veterans. Take advantage of your benefits.

  • Loan Amounts Up to $417,000 and Higher in some High Cost Areas.
  • 15, 25 or 30 Year Loan Terms
  • Up to 4% Seller Paid Closing Cost Allowed
  • No Mortgage Insurance
  • Allowed To Finance Up to $6000 For Energy Improvements
Complete this online form for a personalized rate quote.

Source: VA Handbook